Periconception care

Tips for periconception care

The periconception period is a vital time. It’s Periconception Carea critical window that impacts on the growth and development of the foetus. Common sense and scientific evidence tell us that a healthy body provides the best environment for a healthy pregnancy. To help achieve this:

Eat healthy

Follow a nutritionally balanced diet that is high in fruits, vegetables and fibre and low in saturated fat. Avoid raw or undercooked meat and refrigerated ready-to-eat food to reduce the risk of listeriosis (a food-borne infection).

Don’t Drink Alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy is harmful to the foetus and should be avoided.

Limit Caffeine Intake

A high caffeine intake has been linked to reduced fertility in both females and males, and increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking is likely to reduce fertility and increase the risk of adverse events during pregnancy including preterm delivery, low-birth weight, stillbirth and infant mortality.

Prevent Infection

The foetus can be affected by certain infections such as Rubella, Pertussis, Hep B, Syphilis and Listeria. Couples should seek immunity assessment from doctors when planning pregnancy.

Clean Environment

Avoid exposure to environmentally hazardous dangers such as ionising radiation, pesticides, solvents, heavy metals and so forth.

Healthy Weight

Maintain a healthy pre-pregnancy weight with regular moderate exercise and a healthy diet – aim for an ideal BMI of 20 to 26

Source: Health Essentials. Issue 5, 2011

Probiotic Supplements & Dietary Counseling during Pregnancy Reduces Future Metabolic Syndrome Risk

The perinatal nutritional environment impacts upon the health and well-being of mother and child in the long term. A recent Finland study examined the safety and efficacy of perinatal probiotic-supplement in conjunction with dietary counseling by evaluating pregnancy outcome and fetal and infant growth during the 24 months’ follow-up.

In a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that probiotic supplements and dietary counseling could help reduce the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome during pregnancy.

The study included 256 women, all of whom were normally healthy and had no chronic diseases.  During the first trimester, the participants were randomised into control and dietary intervention groups. The dietary intervention group was given intense nutritional counseling by a nutritionist, and then further divided into two groups: one receiving probiotic supplements and the other a placebo. The probiotic capsules were taken from the beginning of the intervention (first trimester) through the end of exclusive breast-feeding.

Pregnancy outcomes and fetal and infant growth were analysed during the two years of follow-up. No adverse events were reported and all pregnancies were of normal duration.

Women who had taken probiotic supplements had a reduced frequency of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM): 13 percent for the diet/probiotics group, compared to 36 percent for the diet/placebo group and 34 percent for the control group. Dietary counseling during pregnancy also reduced the risk of increased birth size in both groups, reducing the likelihood of future obesity.

The results of this study indicate that probiotic supplements and dietary counseling during pregnancy can be a safe and effective way to address the epidemic of metabolic syndrome.

Source: Luoto R, et al. 2010. Br J Nutr 103(12):1792-9.

Food for thought -  Good fats

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2 Responses to “Periconception care”

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